Feature story and Global Gourmet column
Pasta Primavera with Spring Herbs
Serves: 6. Hands-on time: 30 minutes. Total time: 40 minutes.
A quintessential spring pasta, brimming with fresh seasonal herbs such as mint, parsley and tarragon, works hot, cold or at room temperature as a side dish or entrée.
1 lb whole-grain fusilli, penne or orcchiette pasta
12 asparagus spears, cut into 1/2-in lengths
1 cup peeled and diced carrot (1/4-in dice)
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1/4 cup chopped chives
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1/2 cup goat cheese (about 4 oz), crumbled (Note: Don’t use pre-crumbled goat cheese—it doesn’t melt as well)
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp each fine sea salt and fresh ground black pepper, plus additional to taste
Zest from 1 lemon, divided
ONE: In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta according to package directions. About 2 minutes before pasta is done, add asparagus, carrots and peas and continue to cook until pasta is done and vegetables are crisp-tender.
TWO: Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine chives, mint, parsley and tarragon. Set aside.
THREE: Drain pasta and vegetables, reserving about 1 cup cooking water in a heat-proof cup. Return pasta and vegetables to pot and stir in goat cheese, oil, 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper, three-quarters of herb mixture, half of lemon zest and 1/2 cup cooking water. Add additional salt, pepper and cooking water as desired.
FOUR: Garnish with remaining one-quarter of herb mixture and remaining half of lemon zest. Serve hot, cold or room temperature.
Nutrients per serving (1 1/2 cups):
Calories: 384, Total Fat: 10 g, Sat. Fat: 4 g, Monounsaturated fat: 4 g, Polyunsaturated fat: 1 g, Carbs: 62 g, Fiber: 8.5 g, Sugars: 5 g, Protein: 17 g, Sodium: 275 mg, Cholesterol: 9 mg
Pork Saltimbocca with Sage Mashed Potatoes
Serves: 4. Hands-on time: 40 minutes. Total time: 50 minutes.
Hailing from Rome, saltimbocca is thin cutlets combined with prosciutto and served with white wine sauce. Soft yet earthy sage ties it all together.
1 1/2 lb Russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2-in chunks
4 5-oz boneless pork loin chops, about 3/4-in thick, trimmed
4 thin slices prosciutto
5 tbsp chopped fresh sage leaves, divided
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper, plus additional to taste
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons white whole-wheat flour, divided
3/4 cup whole-milk buttermilk
1/8 tsp sea salt, plus additional to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
ONE: In a medium saucepan, cover potatoes with cold water by 1 inch and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until very tender, 12 to 15 minutes.
TWO: Meanwhile, butterfly pork chops: Cut each pewee horizontally leaving one side attached and then open like a book. Arrange 1 slice prosciutto on half of each butterflied chop, folding prosciutto to fit, and top each with 1 1/2 tsp sage. Fold chops back together, enclosing fillings (secure with a toothpick if necessary), and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp pepper. In a small bowl, combine wine, broth and 2 tsp flour. In a shallow bowl, place remaining 1/2 cup flour. Set chops, wine mixture and flour aside.
THREE: Drain potatoes and return to pot. Add buttermilk and 1/8 tsp salt and mash with a potato masher to desired consistency. Stir in 1 tbsp sage and additional salt. Cover and set aside.
FOUR: In a large skillet on medium, heat oil. One at a time, dredge chops in flour, lightly coating both sides, and add to skillet. Cook for about 6 minutes, carefully turning with tongs halfway, until cooked through. Transfer chops to plates or a platter and loosely cover to keep warm.
FIVE: Return skillet to medium. To skillet, add remaining 2 tablespoons sage and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add wine mixture, scraping up any browned bits in the skillet and stirring until sauce thickens slightly, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat. Add additional salt and pepper. Serve chops with potatoes on the side and sauce spooned on top.
Nutrients per serving (1 chop, 1 scant cup potatoes and 2 1/2 tbsp sauce):
Calories: 454, Total Fat: 16 g, Sat. Fat: 5 g, Monounsaturated fat: 8 g, Polyunsaturated fat: 2 g, Fiber: 2.5 g, Sugars: 5 g, Protein: 40 g, Sodium: 636 mg, Cholesterol: 96 mg
Dill-Poached Salmon with Herbed Yogurt Sauce
Serves: 4. Hands-on time: 25 minutes. Total time: 35 minutes.
You can’t go wrong with salmon and dill; the rich fish a perfect foil for the more delicate, vernal herb.
4 large sprigs plus 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill, divided
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
4 5-oz salmon fillets, 3/4-in thick
3/4 cup plain Greek-style yogurt
1 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp each sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
4 radishes, trimmed and cut into matchsticks
1 small carrot, peeled and cut into matchsticks
ONE: Use kitchen twine to tie dill sprigs together. In a large skillet on medium, bring dill sprigs, broth and 1 cup water to a gentle simmer. Add salmon, adjust heat to maintain barely a simmer, then cover and cook for 5 minutes.
TWO: Meanwhile, prepare yogurt sauce: In a small bowl, combine chopped dill, yogurt, parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Set aside.
THREE: To skillet, add carrots and radishes, nestling them into the liquid. Cover and cook 3 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and salmon is barely cooked through.
FOUR: Use a slotted spatula to arrange salmon on plates or a platter, then to top with vegetables and yogurt sauce (discard dill sprigs). Serve any remaining sauce on the side.
Nutrients per serving (1 salmon fillet, about 1/4 cup vegetables, 3 tbsp sauce):
Calories: 328, Total Fat: 15 g, Sat. Fat: 6 g, Monounsaturated fat: 5 g, Polyunsaturated fat: 4 g, Carbs: 4 g, Fiber: 1 g, Sugars: 3 g, Protein: 42 g, Sodium: 373 mg, Cholesterol: 88 mg
Makes: 3 1/2 cups. Hands-on time: 25 minutes. Total time: 45 minutes(plus chilling and freezing time)
We don’t typically think of them in desserts, but herbs go really well with all kinds of fruit flavors. Here, basil complements lime for a sweet-tart treat.
About 20 limes, divided
1 1/4 cups organic evaporated cane juice
1/2 cup packed basil leaves
Pinch sea salt
ONE: Zest 3 limes. In the bowl of a food processor, combine zest, cane juice and basil and pulse a few times to bruise basil. (NOTE: By breaking up basil in the food processor, we’re “bruising” it, which allows the basil to release its flavors into the sugar syrup.) Transfer mixture to a medium saucepan, then add 1 cup water and bring to a boil on medium-high, stirring to dissolve cane juice. Remove from heat and set aside 30 minutes.
TWO: Meanwhile, juice zested limes plus enough additional limes to yield 2 cups juice.
THREE: Strain cane juice mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, pressing on the solids. Stir in lime juice and salt. Thoroughly chill in fridge, then freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. (Alternately, pour chilled sorbet mixture into a shallow pan and freeze, stirring and breaking up with a fork every hour for 3 or 4 hours. Once solid, set aside at room temperature for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a food processor. Pulse until smooth, then transfer to a container and refreeze.)
Nutrients per serving (1/4 cup):
Calories: 73, Total Fat: 0 g, Sat. Fat: 0 g, Carbs: 20 g, Fiber: 0 g, Sugars: 18 g, Protein: 0 g, Sodium: 9 mg, Cholesterol: 0 mg
Summer Roll-Inspired Noodle Bowl
Serves: 4. Hands-on time: 40 minutes. Total time: 45 minutes.
Don’t let this noodle bowl fool you. Although it’s full of crunchy and colorful vegetables, it’s really about the herbs, with refreshing basil and mint in every bite.
1 lb Pad Thai-style brown rice noodles (pad Thai-style noodles)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 tbsp safflower or grapeseed oil
1 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup chiffonade fresh basil leaves, ideally Thai basil, divided (TIP: To chiffonade your herbs, pile several leaves on top of on another, roll tightly lengthwise into a cylinder and then cut thinly widthwise, creating find ribbons)
1/4 cup chiffonade fresh mint leaves, divided
4 scallions, thinly sliced, divide
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks or shredded
1/2 cucumber, peeled and cut into matchsticks
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup cooked shredded chicken breast
1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts
ONE: Cook rice noodles according to package directions.
TWO: Meanwhile, prepare dressing: In a small bowl, combine lime juice, oil, fish sauce, honey and pepper flakes. Set aside.
THREE: Drain noodles, rinse with cold water, drain again and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with three-quarters of dressing, half of basil, half of mint and half of scallions.
FOUR: Arrange noodles in individual bowls and top with carrot, cucumber, bell pepper, bean sprouts, chicken, remaining half of basil, mint, and scallions, and peanuts. Drizzle with remaining one-quarter of dressing.
Nutrients per serving (about 2 cups):
Calories: 426, Total Fat: 14 g, Sat. Fat: 2 g, Monounsaturated fat: 4 g, Polyunsaturated fat: 7 g, Carbs: 59 g, Fiber: 7 g, Sugars: 9 g, Protein: 19.5 g, Sodium: 352 mg, Cholesterol: 30 mg
Global Gourmet column
Cheers for chilaquiles!
A delicious jumble of flavors and textures, chilaquiles are the perfect comfort food to whip up for a little Cinco de Mayo fun.
Isn’t it great that so many of the world’s most beloved foods have such humble beginnings? How, no matter where you go, the most-craved dishes aren’t the fanciest or most rare but simplest, made from whatever is available and inexpensive?
Chilaquiles (chee-lah-KEE-lehs) is no exception. A traditional Mexican dish invented to use up leftovers, chilaquiles gets its name from a Nahuatl word for chilaquilitl, which translates to “herbs or greens in chile broth”—though it’s also said to mean “a broken-up old sombrero”!
Kind of a mash up of nachos and enchiladas, chilaquiles is basically tortillas that are fried, simmered in sauce and topped with whatever is on hand. Depending on the region—and the cook—the sauce might be green salsa, red salsa or even cream sauce, and the toppings might include cheese, chicken, cilantro, onion, avocado, radishes or lime wedges.
Enjoy it any time
Chilaquiles is typically served for breakfast or brunch, reflecting its use-up-last-night’s-ingredients beginnings, and can even include fried or scrambled eggs. Perhaps not coincidentally, chilaquiles is also considered a great hangover cure, the combination of starch and spice being both comforting and energizing—worth remembering in case you have one too many margaritas.
But don’t let any of that stop you from enjoying chilaquiles for lunch, dinner or any time you’re in the mood for Mexican. Its familiar flavors are uniquely delightful.
Enjoy it clean
This dish is so adjustable that it’s easy to make clean. By simply keeping the saltier and fattier toppings in check, we’re halfway there.
To get the rest of the way, instead of frying the tortillas into chips—or buying already-fried tortilla chips—I simply brush my tortillas with a bit of oil and bake them. The result is nicely crisped chips with plenty of flavor, but less salt, fat and hassle.
Make chilaquiles your own
My recipe includes red chile sauce, chicken, queso fresco, avocado and cilantro. But remember that chilaquiles is about using up leftovers, so vary it depending on your taste and whatever is in your fridge.
Switch Up Your Sauce:
Red or green salsa
Red or green enchilada sauce
Put a Twist on Toppings:
Scrambled or fried eggs
Other Mexican cheeses, like cojita, queso añejo or asadero
Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Crumbled feta or goat cheese
Mexican crema, crème fraîche or sour cream
Serves: 6. Hands-on time: 40 minutes. Total time: 1 hour, 10 minutes.
A delicious jumble of tortilla chips, chile sauce and fresh Mexican toppings, chilaquiles can be served while the chips are still crisp or after they’ve softened to an enchilada-like texture. This recipe puts them nicely in between, with both crunchy and soft bits.
6 dried guajillo or New Mexico chiles, stemmed and seeded (TIP: Cut or tear off the stems then shake or squeeze out the seeds. Guajillo chiles can be found in the ethnic section of your supermarket and at Latin markets.)
12 6-in corn tortillas
2 tbsp neutral-flavored cooking oil (such as safflower or grape seed)
1 28-oz can whole tomatoes, drained
4 garlic cloves
1 jalapeno chile pepper, halved lengthwise, stemmed and seeded
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 white onion, cut into 8 chunks, divided
2 cups cooked shredded chicken breast
1/2 avocado, diced or sliced
1/4 cup crumbled queso fresco (NOTE: If you can’t find queso fresco, substitute with crumbled goat or feat cheese.)
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves
ONE: Preheat the oven to 425°F.
TWO: Meanwhile, heat a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add chiles and cook, pressing into skillet, until darkened, 30 to 60 seconds per side. Transfer chiles to a medium bowl and cover with 2 cups boiling water, or more as necessary to cover. Set aside for 10 minutes.
THREE: Meanwhile, brush tortillas on both sides with oil, then cut into quarters. Arrange in even layers on 2 large rimmed baking sheets and bake until crisp and lightly browned, 13 to 15 minutes, switching positions of baking sheets halfway through. Set chips aside and reduce oven to 250°F.
FOUR: Drain chiles, reserving soaking liquid. In a blender, combine chiles, tomatoes, garlic, jalapeno, cumin, oregano, salt, 7 chunks onion and 1 cup soaking liquid and process to puree. Return skillet to high heat, add chile mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
FIVE: Add chips and chicken to skillet, gently stirring to coat chips with sauce. Return to a simmer, then remove from the heat. Cover loosely with foil, transfer to the oven and bake until chips have some crisp parts and some soft ones, about 15 minutes. (NOTE: Skip baking if you prefer the chips crunchy, or bake longer if you want chips entirely soft.)
SIX: Carefully remove skillet from oven. Slice remaining 1 chunk onion and sprinkle on top of chilaquiles, along with avocado, queso fresco and cilantro. Serve hot.
Nutrients per serving (about 1 1/3 cups):
Calories: 338, Total Fat: 11 g, Sat. Fat: 2 g, Monounsaturated fat: 4 g, Polyunsaturated fat: 5 g, Carbs: 35 g, Fiber: 5.5 g, Sugars: 3 g, Protein: 21 g, Sodium: 269 mg, Cholesterol: 43 mg